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WATCH: 5 features about the Atlantic slave trade

The International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, is on March 25. Take a look at the documentaries and TV series which explain the prejudiced system



According to the United Nations, over 15 million men, women and children were victims of the transatlantic slave trade for over 400 years (16th century -19th century). Africans were taken from the continent and transported to South America, the Caribbean and North America in ships that held hundreds of slaves at a time, with poor sanitation and little space. For those that survived, they were sold as commodities and became the property of slave owners who often exploited them. From working on sugar plantations in the sweltering heat, to working as house-helps, the conditions were harsh and the punishments severe. Africans were not seen as human beings and were perceived to be inferior. For a crash course on the Atlantic Slave Trade, watch this video (also seen above).

Below are five features that shed light on the transatlantic slave trade.

The Book of Negroes

Based on a novel by Lawrence Hill, the six-part miniseries centres on Aminata Diallo, who navigates her way through the American Revolution, the isolated refuge of Nova Scotia, and the treacherous Sierra Leone before securing her freedom in England in the 19th century. (LA Times).



A dramatization of author Alex Haley’s family line from ancestor Kunta Kinte’s enslavement to his descendants’ liberation. The mini-series is a classic that aired on ABC Network in the U.S in the 1970s. Take a look at a preview below. (IMDb).

Slavery in Jamaica (BBC)


This feature looks at the island’s sugar plantations, which were highly dependent on African slave labour (by individuals mainly from West and Central Africa). We see how European families such as the Beckfords, who were British, made fortunes by pushing slaves to produce more and more sugar under tough working conditions. Jamaica was one of the countries that had the most slave revolts during the atlantic slave trade.

Slavery and The Making of America

This four-part series reveals the history of American slavery from its beginnings in the British colonies, to its end in the Southern states and the years of post-Civil War Reconstruction. Scholars and research are used to show that slavery was as an integral part of developing the U.S, and even challenges the belief that slavery was only endorsed in the South. The stories of individual slaves are highlighted to offer new perspectives on the slave experience, and according to PBS: “Testifies to the active role that Africans and African-Americans took in surviving their bondage and shaping their own lives.”


African History: The Slave Trade of Africans To Brazil

This feature looks at how the slave trade developed in Brazil, and how the nation became a leading sugar producer. From the transportation of Angolan slaves to Brazil, academics offer an insight into the experiences of different stakeholders in the slave trade. Watch below.